A resurgence of coronavirus cases in West Africa is hitting the region hard, inundating cemeteries where funeral numbers are rising and hospitals where beds are becoming scarce.
Those visible shifts are also pushing a reluctant population to seek out the vaccines in larger numbers at a time when shipments of doses are arriving from multiple sources after nearly grinding to a halt in recent months.
Shortages and delays have caused Africa’s 54 countries to fall far behind wealthier nations in their COVID-19 vaccine rollouts.
Some 82 million doses have arrived on the continent, though that is just 10% of the number needed.
More shipments are finally rolling in.
Nigeria has just received a little over four million doses of the Moderna vaccine donated by the United States.
Africa’s most populous country, with more than 210 million people, Nigeria is also set to receive more than 29 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines purchased by the government through the African Union.
But there is still work to be done to get the word out on the benefits of vaccination, with many still wary of getting shots as conspiracy theories spread online.
Nigeria’s virus cumulative case count recently topped 174-thousand.
The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nigeria has more than tripled over the past two weeks from 140 to 460, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Isolation centers that were closed after a previous surge are being reopened in anticipation of a large number of patients, according to the Nigeria Centres for Disease Control.